NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) –– As the saltwater wedge continues to move up the Mississippi River, animal advocates are urging pet parents to include their furry friends in their plans.

Rebecca Melanson with the LASPCA explained pets will also need to be considered, “Just like people, they can’t drink this saltwater. You want to make sure that they have drinkable water as well.”

Saltwater could have some adverse health effects if pets drink too much, most commonly dehydration. If your pet drinks saltwater, Melanson said to look out for “things like panting, they’re going to look lethargic, they might have some stomach issues, gastrointestinal things like diarrhea and vomiting.”

She suggested the general rule of thumb for keeping your pet hydrated is to give them about one ounce per pound, “So if you have a 60-pound dog, you’ll need about 60 ounces per day.”

With saltwater in the pipes, you may need to reconsider how you bathe your dog. “It’s going to be a little bit harsher on their skin, just like it would be for your car. If they aren’t super stinky, don’t bathe them,” Melanson said. 

If you cannot avoid giving your pet a bath, she suggested waterless shampoos. “That’s typically what we use at the shelter anyway, and it works great. It works the same way dry shampoo essentially works for humans.”

Right now, the LASPCA is focused on providing support to lower Plaquemines Parish. Melanson explained, “We are trying to funnel those resources down there, and the government has done a great job of getting those distribution points set up.”

She added that, as always, “anytime you make plans, whether it’s your daily plans, your weekly plans, vacation plans, or emergency plans, you should always include your pets.”

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